Turkey Hails Pompeo Comments Over Defense Against 'Terrorists'

Pompeo Says The U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Syria Is Just A 'Tactical Change'

Pompeo confident of good outcome for Turkey and Kurds

On Friday, the US-led coalition said it had started the pullout, but officials later said only equipment, not troops, were going.

Robertson, in his statement, said the coalition had carried out "logistical measures" to support a withdrawal but did not enter into details.

"We stand to lose our way of life, we also stand to lose our property and our livelihood", said Ishak.

Residents near border crossings that are typically used by USA forces going in and out of Syria from Iraq said they had seen no obvious or large-scale movement of U.S. ground forces on Friday.

Islamic State still holds territory on the western bank of the Euphrates, between areas controlled by the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian-backed allies.

Erdogan, who has welcomed the pullout plan, last week accused Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, of a "grave mistake" in demanding that Ankara provide assurances on the safety of the Kurdish fighters before Washington withdraws its troops.

Erdogan rebuffed a proposed meeting with Bolton in Ankara on January 8, then took to live television instead to insult him for a lack of perspective.

"Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey".

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Mr Pompeo said yesterday that the speech had not taken aim at individuals but rather the ideas of the previous administration, adding that the Obama-era policies opened the way for Islamic State and the spread of Iran's influence in the region.

The Kurdish YPG has been a USA ally in the fight against the Islamic State group and it controls swaths of northern Syria. In a televised speech in December, he said Turkey's army would be ready "neutralize terrorist organizations" in upcoming months, according to the Financial Times.

Just because a "couple thousand uniform personnel" will be leaving Syria, Pompeo said, doesn't mean that US interests have changed.

"We recognize the Turkish people's right to defend their country from terrorists, but we also know that those. who are not terrorists and fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected", Pompeo told reporters.

His top diplomat Mike Pompeo is on a whirlwind regional tour aimed at reassuring allies amid rising tensions between the usa and Turkey over the fate of Washington's Syrian Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

He suggested that talks between Damascus and the Syrian Kurds could be part of a broader political solution in Syria.

Ankara sees the backbone of that alliance, the YPG, as a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

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